On the eve of a special session of the Delhi Assembly in which the Delhi Government would move the Delhi Municipal Corporation Amendment Bill-2011 for trifurcation of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, Mayor Rajni Abbi on Tuesday opposed the move on the ground that it “lacks foresightedness and a vision for the citizens” and reiterated the demand for setting up a Mayor-in-Council.

She said the basic reason given for splitting the MCD in the statement of objectives and reasons of the Delhi Municipal Corporation Amendment Bill-2011 is the phenomenal population growth. The Census of 2001 has been considered the base.

She said if that were indeed the case, then in 2007, when the number of wards was increased from 134 to 272, the Government could have considered a division of the Corporation instead. Prof. Abbi said that with the Census of 2011 expected in January 2012, Delhi would need six Corporations if population alone was the criterion.

The Mayor said Section 2 provides for the post of a Commissioner for each of the corporations. Similarly, it stipulates that there shall be three Mayors and three Standing Committee Chairmen.

“This will increase manifold the financial burden on the corporations. However, in the financial memorandum, the Bill says that any additional financial liability will be made up through internal resources and no financial assistance will be sought from the Union Home Ministry, i.e. the Government of India,” she added. 

Prof. Abbi also charged that insertion of new Section 284 (A), whereby Director of Local Bodies shall be appointed to coordinate the functions of the respective corporations, is unconstitutional.

“It is unheard of that a bureaucrat sits on three elected bodies and gets overriding powers,” she said.

Moreover, she said, Section 514 (B) gives overriding effect to the Delhi Development Act-1957 over the DMC Act.  “However, the DMC Act was passed to consolidate and amend the law related to the MCD and therefore it cannot be subservient to any other body. This calls for a rethink on the whole amendment process,” the Mayor said, adding that the creation of Mayor-in-Council would be a better option.

Regarding the BJP seeking division of the MCD in its manifesto, Prof. Abbi said that was only talked about when Delhi attained full Statehood. “This was reflected in the unanimous resolution of the Special House convened by the MCD on the issue,” she said.

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